Automotive Digital Marketing

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Are you marketing the Brands within your Brand?

The Question: What do Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Sierra Mist, SoBe, AMP Energy Drink, Propel, Mug, and Aquafina have in common with your Sales Team?

The answer: They are all Brands within a Brand! It doesn’t matter to PepsiCo, the parent company, whether your Sales Manager grabs a Mountain Dew or an AMP Energy drink on their way to the dealership.  Some people “Do the Dew” and others prefer to get “AMPED UP,” PepsiCo has a brand for both and makes a sale either way…

As a dealership you are PepsiCo and your Sales team members are your brands within your brand. How well are you marketing YOUR BRANDS to assure that you get a shot at every sale?

Consumers do a surprising amount of research before making a vehicle purchase. They research the vehicle they are interested in, they research the dealer they are interested in purchasing from, but would it surprise you to know that they now research the sales team member that they want to work with before coming to the dealership?  It’s true. Nothing about the internet era changed the fact that this is a people business so it shouldn’t really surprise us that the people that represent you to the consumer have become a very real part of your online marketing effort. People will always buy from people, not a business, right?

One very important thing however, HAS changed... An effective greeting may no longer occur on the lot; the greeting may occur ONLINE!


If you want to be truly competitive in the research phase of the buying cycle and improve your lead-to-appointment ratio, your Salesperson’s online greeting needs to be as polished as their lot greeting. Here are a couple thoughts to help you effectively market your brands within your brand.

  • Your Staff page must include more than a fuzzy picture and phone number.
    • Encourage your staff to sell themselves in the bio section of your staff directory page and link prospects to their information. Make it light, fun and engaging. Video is a terrific medium for an introduction. If you don’t have a bio, you don’t have a brand.
  • Differences make the difference!
    • Do you speak 3 languages? Do you rally race the same models you sell on the weekends? Do you personally own the model I’m interested in buying? What makes you different that should make me want to work with you? Tell me your story.
  • Show me your Stars!
    • What have your previous customers said about working with you? What will I find if I Google your name? Digitize your "Why Buy Book" or "Evidence Manual" and use it to win the appointment AND the sale. I can buy from a lot of sales people, convince me you are better than the rest?


Remember, some customers want to “Do the Dew” and others are really craving a quality bottle of water. If you are helping your staff to be the brand within your brand you can be all things to all people!

PS. Here is a GREAT example of this concept in action from a store that is North of the Border. Click on any of their sales team members on their DealerRater Page: 

Views: 882

Tags: introductions, pages, reviews, staff, video


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Comment by Michal Lusk on November 9, 2012 at 1:40pm

To tell the truth, I didn't fully use DealerRater's staff pages for SEO either, although I did have all the staff for all our dealerships loaded with photos and a short bio for each one (I took a photo and loaded it on our websites and on DealerRater as soon as we hired new staff, including finance, service, and support personnel).

After a nice chat with Matt Lamoureux while he was still at DealerRater, I realized what a great opportunity DealerRater gives for weaving great, searchable key words into the bio text on the additional staff pages, plus linking all those additional pages to websites. Like I said, if I was still doing online reputation at a dealership, I would make even better use of DealerRater.

I think DealerRater is a fantastic tool for dealers, is still very under-used, and will continue to see impressive growth.

Comment by Tom Gorham on November 9, 2012 at 1:09pm

AJ, I love that!  "we don't want the competition to steal our staff!!!!"  LOL  We have people who have been here for 15-20 years and started here when they were 18-20 years old.  They stayed because it's a great place to work and they make money!  They are dedicated professionals.  They deserve to be marketed and it will only help the dealership.  Thank you!

Comment by Aj Maida on November 9, 2012 at 12:35pm
Now Ryan you know my feeling on this. Excellent insight and advice that cost nothing to implement!!! Michal, if people don't realize the SEO value in this then they are so missing the boat (and it will sink). Believe it or not when I first started at a dealership they didn't have our want a staff page. When I asked why....Because we don't want the competition to steal our staff!!!! I didn't really see that as a problem. To use Ryan's analogy, if you only give them a push mower to cut the grass then they will leave on their own!!! You must promote and brand your employees!!! You know whats coming...People want to do business with people they like and they trust!!!! It's about the people,People!!!!!!
Comment by Tom Gorham on November 9, 2012 at 9:44am

"Think of the implications of recruiting, hiring and retaining the kind of talent you WANT to market. That talent is likely to flock to the dealers that WILL market them."  I really like that line of thinking!

Comment by Ryan Leslie on November 9, 2012 at 7:31am

Tom- WOW! Huge compliment from an author of your caliber and I guy I truly respect! Thanks! Your story illustrated the point very well. It was a similar story from one of my dealers that prompted the article ;)

Michal- I agree, most probably don't see the SEO implications, but to me that is just icing on the cake. The part they really NEED to see is that the employee pages close APPOINTMENTS! "The Greeting" now happens on your DIGITAL LOT!

Stanley- Tom is right. Sales People understand this concept inherently. "Management Types" need to start becoming more comfortable with the idea in my opinion. Think of the implications of recruiting, hiring and retaining the kind of talent you WANT to market. That talent is likely to flock to the dealers that WILL market them.

Comment by Stanley Esposito on November 9, 2012 at 5:42am

Are the management types comfortable with the sales team being in the forefront? If the answer is yes train them support them and market them. 

Comment by Tom Gorham on November 8, 2012 at 6:04pm

Tweeted, Facebooked, and Carbucked!

Comment by Tom Gorham on November 8, 2012 at 5:29pm

Ryan, a really great post.  I only wish that I had written it! ;-) Each of our sales staff and service writers have their own review pages on our website (IF they have enough reviews to qualify).  On that page, we put any video testimonials, customers photos with their new cars, and reviews written on Google, DealerRater, etc.

A short story, if I may... A vendor of mine brought his daughter to me to buy a new car.  I no longer work directly with customers, but told him I would have someone show them the car and assist with the paperwork, while I would set the price.  When I introduced him to our top salesperson, the vendor exclaimed, "Oh I know you!  I've seen you on the Internet!" 

The moral of this story is, that between YouTube videos, Customer Reviews and Testimonials, Social Media and more, we CAN market our Brand and our brands (employees).  People buy from people they trust.  Thank you for a great article!

Comment by Michal Lusk on November 8, 2012 at 3:15pm

Excellent insight, Ryan! We really appreciated the sales person pages on our DealerRater site and took advantage of them, including loading a short bio and photo of each sales person, training sales staff on how to use DealerRater to close customers, and linking each sales person's DealerRater page to their photo and bio on our websites. There are a couple of additional things I would do to improve on our staff pages (if I was still at the dealership), but it is surprising how few certified dealers do anything with staff pages. I suspect most do not understand what loading sales staff does for SEO, how it can help close customers, and how it can motivate sales staff.

Comment by Ryan Leslie on November 8, 2012 at 2:35pm

Thanks for the comment Jeffrey! I can empathize. We don't charge anything for the individual pages and still run into some hesitation to use them sometimes. Unfortunately the idea of promoting the individual salesperson is scary to some managers because they have really high attrition rates in the sales position and they feel like they are throwing good time and effort after bad. I think giving the right sales people the tools to promote themselves, and subsequently the dealership, can actually curb some of the attrition they fear.

"The grass may appear to be greener somewhere else, but you still have to mow it..." When your salesperson gets used to using the dealer's 48" cut riding mower with the air suspension seat they aren't likely to head down the road to be handed some scissors.

That might be all that needs to be communicated to keep your best talent.

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